Great Dane looking to bring over 100 permanent jobs to the area with facility expansion

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VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Over 100 permanent jobs and several construction jobs could be coming to Terre Haute’s Northside through a $50 million project.

Great Dane is seeking a 10 year tax abatement from Vigo County to help expand its facility. The money would be spent on equipment and building improvements.

The trailer manufacturer is looking to consolidate nine plants from other states into one facility in Terre Haute that would specialize in the fabrication process. The other plants would continue operations.

Plant Manager Matthew Johnson said this investment boosts both the economy and employment.

“Terre Haute is one our highest performers for the company and the community ties. Our plant has been here for 26 years and in Brazil for a long time,” Johnson said. “We have a lot of ties to both Brazil, Terre Haute and the community. That’s important to Great Dane.”

The approximately 125 newly created jobs would vary in fields from welding and robotics operators to automation and other areas.

“These are high skilled jobs,” he added. “The trailer industry is booming.”

Starting pay could be between $20-$30 an hour, with the potential to go higher.

Officials say the appeal to consolidate in Terre Haute is due to the area’s square footage. However, many buildings are in need of repairs.

“The buildings at this campus are very old, been here a long time. It would require a lot of renovations both on the inside and outside work,” Johnson said. “We also want it to be a show case for our customers and making these components. These are critical to making trailers.”

The project would be completed through two phases. If the abatement is approved, Great Dane would look to begin in January 2022 with a completion date of December 2024.

“Everything is ready to go. We have equipment on order,” Johnson said. “It’s just a matter of where it’s delivered. We could have production by May. It’s an imminent project.”

Phase one of Great Dane’s proposed expansion would be half of the project, according to Johnson, with main areas of emphasis being investment and hiring. In 2023, it would be much of the same formula with additional contract work, building renovation and other related items.

Vigo County Council President Aaron Loudermilk said a key component to passing any abatement is the continuous growth of Vigo County.

“I’d like to see our local people help with the expansion, they help with the renovations. That way we know those local people, they stay here local,” he said. “They’ll spend the money that they make local. I feel it’s a great benefit to the community to have a partnership like that.”

A vote that would give preliminary approval on the requested tax abatement is set for next week on Nov. 9. If passed, a final vote could be made in January.

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